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How To Shut Down Android Apps

Updated on April 5, 2011

The Android platform has many pluses, it's agile, open source and offers smart phone services without Apple's input (or price tag). The thing about Android that many new users find wildly frustrating however, is the fact that applications seem determined to stay open forever. Some even load on start up and stay loaded even if you never use them. This is particularly problematic with software that came pre-loaded on the phone.

How To Close Andriod Applications The Hard Way

So, you've opened an application, gone back to the main menu and then discovered that it is still merrily running in the background, potentially chewing resources and possibly bandwidth as well. If there is no option in the application's menu to exit (and for reasons explained in the caveat at the end of this article, there are plenty of applications that offer no shut down option) the manual way to shut down applications is to enter your 'Settings', navigate to 'Applications' and then 'Manage Applications'. You can then select each application manually and force close it. This is tedious, but effective.

How To Close Android Applications The Smart Way

Another way to deal with pesky open applications without manually entering your settings and scrolling through a list of every application on your phone every time you want to make sure something actually closed properly, is to download an app from the Android Store that manages apps.

Yes, it's madness that you have to download an app in order to close your other apps, but at the time of writing, that's just how it is.

TasKiller is an Android app offering both free and paid versions that will allow you to manage your apps. I strongly suggest downloading it (or something like it, I use TasKiller myself and find that it works perfectly). You'll be amazed when you load it just how many applications your phone is running. Some, like Touch Pad software should be left alone, unless you want to render your phone temporarily inoperable. Others, like the game of Angry Birds you didn't actually play yet, are prime targets for being shut down.

It's not uncommon for half to three quarters of a phone's available memory to be chewed up at any given time by applications running in the background. When I first ran an app management app on my phone I had only 25 MB of available memory. By the time I had closed down the umpteen apps that had seen fit to stay open, I had 110 MB to work with. If you're having performance issues, an application managing program is a must download.

CAVEAT: It is worth noting that Android doesn't manage memory like a PC and having a lot of apps running in the background (theoretically) isn't a bad thing. In fact, apps are designed to work that way so that they launch faster the next time you want them. The fact of the matter is however, not all apps are coded well and some will slow down your phone, even in the background. If you prefer to have your apps shut down once you're done with them, a task managing app is a good idea.


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